Directors that works without scripts

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Pedro Costa's
He tells the stories of the people that work with him, it's a very personal thing that often looks like a well done artistic documentary but it's because the individuals don't tell him much, that's why "his" films don't tell it all as well.

Mike Leigh
He develops the films with the actors he works with. David Thewlis wanted writing credits for Naked back in the day. He built the character almost by himself, the conspiracy theories were heard in the streets of London, I believe, and then adapted into the film. The philosophy was from the beatnik writers, that's what David was reading back then.



minds his own damn business
Cassavetes was pretty liberal with his approach.
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Cassavetes was pretty liberal with his approach.
According to longtime collaborator Seymour Cassel, outside of Shadows, which was largely improvised, Cassavetes actually very strongly stuck to his scripts. Cassel says the only time he improved during Faces was a song.

Cassel and Rowlands described Cassavetes' process as relying on atypically extensive and intense rehearsals until everything felt like improv.

Though the interviews I saw this in predominantly focused on Faces and Woman Under the Influence, I suppose he could've had a looser approach with other films beyond Shadows, but Cassel seemed pretty adamant that was their only improv film.



Gaspar Noe generally doesn't have anything more than an outline when he makes his movies.



Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
According to longtime collaborator Seymour Cassel, outside of Shadows, which was largely improvised, Cassavetes actually very strongly stuck to his scripts. Cassel says the only time he improved during Faces was a song.

Cassel and Rowlands described Cassavetes' process as relying on atypically extensive and intense rehearsals until everything felt like improv.

Though the interviews I saw this in predominantly focused on Faces and Woman Under the Influence, I suppose he could've had a looser approach with other films beyond Shadows, but Cassel seemed pretty adamant that was their only improv film.

I'd add that Cassavetes never told the actors how to sit, move, and that he wasn't against changing something after it was discussed and agreed that it was better for the overall piece.



minds his own damn business
Cassel and Rowlands described Cassavetes' process as relying on atypically extensive and intense rehearsals until everything felt like improv.
My understanding is that the rehearsals involved a lot of improv which then would become the script. I believe similar improv-rehearsal was how Scorsese and De Niro settled on lines for their classic films. I think a number of scenes in Husbands are improvised, and, Cassavetes-adjacent, Micky and Nicky involved a lot of on-set improv as well.

If I'm understanding the "with no script" premise, I thought it would involve a film without a precise written script before filming. I find the idea of shooting a film without any outline to be fairly implausible.



Pretty sure that both Woody Allen and Robert Altman have worked without scripts. Read somewhere that Altman's film A Wedding was completely improvised.



My understanding is that the rehearsals involved a lot of improv which then would become the script. I believe similar improv-rehearsal was how Scorsese and De Niro settled on lines for their classic films. I think a number of scenes in Husbands are improvised, and, Cassavetes-adjacent, Micky and Nicky involved a lot of on-set improv as well.

If I'm understanding the "with no script" premise, I thought it would involve a film without a precise written script before filming. I find the idea of shooting a film without any outline to be fairly implausible.
While I believe that Cassavetes wasn't impervious to alteration of the dialogue while they were rehearsing and certainly wasn't a Coen Bros "that was good, but say what's in the script" style of filmmaker, both Cassel and Rowlands emphasized Cassavetes writing and how much they did stick to the script. Both seemed out to refute the notion that Cassavetes wasn't a writer and relied on improv. These were interviews on the Criterion releases so take from that what you will.

I think outlining is considerably different than scripting. Usually this approach results in an inferior film (see: Duplass brothers filmography).

However, in the hands of more experimental filmmakers, it can work pretty well. I mentioned Gaspar Noe but I also believe that Jarmusch, Refn and Lynch are also known to toss the script and focus on the elements of a scene that are less tangible than the written word can express.



Pretty sure that both Woody Allen and Robert Altman have worked without scripts. Read somewhere that Altman's film A Wedding was completely improvised.
I thought Woody Allen was very protective of his script & didnít allow any variance from it.
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